Happy St. Patricks Day 2014 ~ from Brigadoon
Posted on: 2nd March 2014 18:52:26



Welcome to the March 2014 Edition



This month we open an invitation to a “fantasy” vacation in Brigadoon!  


Our guides, Gene Kelly, Cyd Charisse and Van Johnson all have their parts to play in helping answer this month’s thought provoking question for clinicians, educators and families:


Why Brigadoon?


Firstly, because it abounds with opportunities for reminiscence with older clientele including Grandma:


The handsome stranger (Kelly) searching for he knows not what~(“…something seems wrong. Especially about Jane and me and that makes everything seem wrong”)~ finding it in the beautiful “local” girl (Charisse), who knows she’s in love after a simple glance, a touch of the hand and a walk through the heather on the hill. 


Such scenes give way to reminiscences of love at first sight, flirting, dating, courting and encourage your clients  to share.


Secondly, because it introduces a standard in Classic Movie Musicals ~the sidekick, the best friend. The guy who helps to move the story forward either by pushing the main character toward the girl (Danny Kaye to Bing Crosby in White Christmas) or away from her as seen here.


Van Johnson is motivated to leave Brigadoon as soon as he arrives.  He finds no joy in the hunt (whether it be for game or girl). He does not believe in anything he can’t  “ touch, taste hear, see, smell, or swallow”.   As he sees his friend falling in love with a girl “ who isn’t real,” he provides a reality check.

(“I don’t know what goes on around here but it’s got nothing to do with me or you! …You want to give up your family, your friends, your whole life for this!”) 



As the film progresses to its conclusion we see that the realist (Johnson) prevailed and each man has returned to a life in “real world” of Manhattan. However, we also see that neither is coping very well in that reality. Gene Kelly finds himself drowning in memories of Brigadoon – even in the presence of another woman. Van Johnson finds himself drowning in alcohol to block out memories of a land he believes never existed. 


Therefore, when Kelly wants to return to Scotland to “see” Brigadoon, Johnson believes “it doesn’t make sense” but goes with him to support him.  It is Johnson who says, “It’s so much like a dream now I have to work hard to convince myself it happened at all”.  Johnson is the pessimist so Kelly takes on the optimist role by replying, ”I found the things you believe in become more real to you than all the things you can explain away or understand”.




Friendship is a great aspect of the film to explore with your students.


Can friendship survive when belief systems seem to be polar opposite?

Can you support a friend when you believe what he does is wrong?

Can pessimism and optimism exist well in a friendship?


Do you believe as Kelly does that the things you believe in become more real to you than all the things you can explain away or understand? 


Thirdly, the sidekick (Johnson) offers a sense of adventure.

In his zeal to return home he leads Kelly into the village which holds all kinds of “strange” things (men in “funny” clothes, women in pursuit of “right winnin’ lads”).


For clinicians, family members and educators a trip to the village offers a glimpse into traditional dress, dance, and use of language ~ all with a proper brogue!


Set your DVD player, gather your clients, residents, students and family members and open your Invitation to St. Patrick’s Day in Brigadoon!


Watch for Easter Parade in  April when you open your invitation and find  a ticket to “the hat parade on the well known avenue”!





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